Introduction: The Gov'not - an Attempt to Turn an Old Frame Into a Copy of a Vintage Path Racer - Pashley Gov'nor- for 50 Pounds.

This is the Pashley Gov'nor . . . it is simply beautiful . . . sit and stare at it for a while, it will make you feel nice . . .

It is based on the model made by Pashley in the 1930s but is equipped with modern components, (either single speed or internal hub 3 speed).

I want one, but at £800 I am afraid that it is not ever going to happen, even if I had the money.

I am attempted to make a passable copy for under £50, using scavenged, swapped and Ebay parts. . . I failed but it is still a bargain bike eventually costing  £111.07.

This guide is straightforward step by step but for a more comprehensive explanation of the thought process please go to this version which is a day by day diary of the project' ups and downs.

Step 1: The Frame.

After putting the word, out a guy has given me a 23 " Raleigh flyer frame from his loft.

Its not a good or rare frame but that means I can modify it without guilt.

This frame originally had 27" wheels.

I have some old 700 C's wheels , which are slightly smaller diameter and, with the current tyres, wider.

I sanded the frame and found lots of rust under the original paint.

I like matt black and I paint every bike I own with the following method.

Front door paint dabbed on with a washing-up sponge; It doesn't look so good in the photographs but it is a very matt  finish with a slight texture and it is durable.

Step 2: The Gears and Brakes.

Yahoo, just now I won these on Ebay; I was waiting all week to bid for them.

A 3 speed rear with hub brake and a front with a hub brake.

They cost , with postage, £67.50 but that is my brakes and gears sorted and these are the actual set up used on the Gov'nor.


Step 3: Spoke Size Calculation.

I am starting with the front wheel as they are symetrical and therefore easier; rear wheels have an offset which means that the spokes are longer on one side than the other.

Ok, All of my information is coming from Sheldon Brown's site.

He begins by linking to a selection of Spoke calculation sites.

I found this one to be the most straightforward.

As the photos show it has a very simple layout with a help section.

My photos are too low resolution to be much help so please go to the site.

I've used callipers and ruler to get measurements; it's a bit tricky.

For the rim measurement :

Take two spokes cut down to 200mm. Glue on a nipple so that the top of the spoke is flush with the bottom of the slot in the nipple.
Place in opposite holes in the rim and hold taut. Measure between the ends and add 400mm. Average several diameters.

3x is the usual spoke pattern found in wheels; it simply means that each leading spoke crosses 3 training spokes on that side of the hub This sounds complicated but easy to understand once you have read the method on the wheelbuliding link.

Step 4: Cutting and Threading the Spokes.

I marked them out with a metal ruler; using an angle grinder in a vice, I cut them.

Today I borrowed a thread cutting machine.

From talking to others it seems that spoke calculators tend to be inaccurate unless using well known rims and hubs.
(Mine were too short - see the journal version of this Instructable).

Step 5: Building the Wheels.

OK,  using this page, that I've mentioned several times already, build your wheel.

It's broken down into the four stages shown in the photographs.

I used the actual bike as my truing stand for the front wheel.
A ruler held on with an elastic band kept the vertical truing in check;  I used two magnets and bolts for the lateral truing, but zip ties or bits of tape would work equally well.

The back wheel was the same; trued in the frame.

Well take heart; truing was easy.
The wheels are perfectly true; and I mean perfect.

Step 6: Axle Lock Washers.

These are needed fot the back wheel only.

I bought some on Ebay.

I misaligned and crunch!

I bought some more on Ebay.

Washers  £2.30
Washers  £2.30

TOTAL = £72.10

Step 7: The Saddle.

This was free due to damage at the rear.


Step 8: Brakes.

I used some old levers that I have had since my cantilever brake days.
They have the same mechanical advantage as Drum brakes.


Firstly I had to make a clamp for the torsion bar.
All I had was this metal strip but it didn't look so good;  then I remembered a handlebar strengthener bar from old bits box.
With a bit of spacing and a bit of metal strip the clamps from the strengthener worked great.
Because I am not using the correct brake cable ( £2) , I do not have the accompanying fittings; I got around this by using a threaded cable adjuster( £1.50) and a pinch bolt (£1)
I used the cable adjuster as the bolt for the torsion bar; it seemed an elegant solution.


I used the matching clamp from the handlebar strengthener on the front torsion arm.
I managed to get a real Sturmey Archer front cable at a low price but it was their last one. (£3.99)
This is easy to fit.

TOTAL SO FAR-  £80.59

Step 9: Chain, Chainring and Tyres.

I decided to run a  1/8" chain and run it on the existing 3/32" chainring.

This is the cheapest option but I have heard that this combination usually runs fine but sometimes can be a bit on the noisy side.

I ordered a 1/8" half link chain because this gives greater options in positioning the wheel.) ( £10.99 )

My chainring has 52 teeth with a 42 tooth inner.

52t is too much so I have chosen to remove this ring.

It is a cheap riveted chainring and I used an angle grinder.

Ok, I tried it; Not bad at all; very smooth with no noise.

A nice chap, who I work with, gave me a pair of amberwall Schwalbe 32C's that he was taking off his fixie to replace with thinner slicks.
They look good.

TOTAL SO FAR = £91.58

Step 10: The Gears.

Ok, my plan was to not use a standard Sturmey Archer Gripshift or  trigger gear; I can't see why a friction shifter won't work.

This is partly because I don't want a shifter on my handlebar and partly because all that I can find in my old parts box is a chunky aluminium friction shifter from the 80's.

The shifter is a handlebar fitting, so I took it apart and, with some washers, fitted it onto the lug where a normal shifter would go.

I'd been thinking for hours of elaborate ways, using the parts that I had, to fit a cable-fitting on the frame near the shifter which would enable me to run the cable under the bottom bracket.

I used, as I always do for any problem in my life, a stabiliser bracket; these come with two holes in each end and are very strong.

I simply cut it down and bolted the cable bracket to it and then used the bottle cage lug to attach it to the frame.

I used a different but standard fitting for the other end and connected it to the anchorage.

A test ride proved it to work smoothly and without any problems;  in fact I prefer it to a horrible clunky trigger selector.

Gear indicator ( toggle chain)  £2.99
Anchorage                                  £1.00
Cable fitting                                £1.00
Adjustable cable fitting            £1.50

TOTAL SO FAR=  £98.07

Step 11: The Handlebars, Stem and Grips.

After weeks of looking for a nice vintage set of bars from ebay I bought a new set of alloy North road handle bars from Descent Cycles for £13 inc. postage.

My neighbour swapped a modern stem from my bits box for a 70's projecting one; it is perfect.

I thought about grips .. . 

Ok, leather grips seem in order, as worn by the Gov'nor .
I had a brown leather bag that  a friend had ripped and thrown away.
It seemed a  straightforward idea; to just cut a rectangle and sew it into a tube just a tiny bit smaller than the handlebar diameter and slide it on; possibly make some wooden end caps. . . . .

 . . . But before I had time to do this my mind came up with a crazy idea . . . wooden grips . . .  .yes, I know, it's insane; they would be too hard but they would look good.

I looked on the internet to see if anyone had tried this and discovered, with a chuckle, that theses are totally mainstream . . . maybe I had seen some and forgotten but, whatever, they are everywhere and cost around £40.

I couldn't get the idea out of my mind . . . of course, a lathe would be needed . . . I don't have or know how to use a lathe.

Could it be possible to use a spade drill bit on a chunky bit of wood and carve away the excess afterwards ? . . . could I just drill into a grip sized branch and hope that it doesn't split.

I looked through my seasoned wood pile; nothing was really the right size.

I found a curtain pole that had been thrown out by a neighbour about two years ago; it was a bit rotten at one end but seemed about grip sized.

Now, I was only trying this so that I could discount the idea and then move on to something else, I knew that it would not work.

The first two attempts split but then I had success.

All the time I was in a state of amazement that this had worked; I still am.

I will put some furniture polish on them later to bring out the grain and maybe lessen the chance of them cracking.

* After much riding I can report that these might just be the most comfortable grips that I have ever used.

TOTAL SO FAR = £111.07

Step 12: The Badge.

Letting my lack of imagination run riot I predictably drew a skull.

I have a small piece of 1mm brass sheet that I got somewhere years ago.

I used a fretsaw and hammered it over an old frame to get the headset curve.

I glued it on with epoxy resin.

Step 13: The Finished Bike.

I sprayed the rims matt black and polished up my badge . . .  it's finished.

I can't stop riding  it . . . it makes me smile and rides like a dream.

TOTAL SO FAR = £111.07

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